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Relationship dangerously abusive

DEAR ANNIE: I’m 20 years old. My boyfriend and I have a 6-month-old baby boy. I used to be very independent. When I met "Jake," he was 18, had never worked a day in his life and was a serious drug addict. I got him to stop doing drugs and he even got a job, although his hiring cost me my position.

We moved in together when I turned 18, and I discovered he’s extremely controlling. I used to have a ton of friends, and now I have none because Jake doesn’t like them. I can’t go out unless he goes out with me. I can’t talk to any guys because he’ll think I’m cheating on him.

Jake doesn’t want me to get a job, but he won’t buy things we need. I can’t have money unless he gives it to me, and then he grills me about how I spend it. He also kicks and pushes me. When he goes to work, he takes my son’s car seat so I can’t leave. He calls 10 times a day to check on me. One night we got into a fight and I found a knife under the sofa cushion where he sits. I don’t know if it was for me.

Jake makes me angry and depressed. I want to get out, but it’s been three years since I’ve had a job and I’m not sure I can get another one. I have no money, my car is busted and now I have a baby to take care of. I love Jake, but I need to leave. How do I do it? — Lost and Helpless

DEAR LOST: At your age, those three unemployed years won’t hurt you when you look for a job. More importantly, you and your son are in a dangerously abusive relationship, and you must get out immediately. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (ndvh.org) at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233) and ask for help. Do it today.

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DEAR ANNIE: I had weight-loss surgery two years ago. Needless to say, my looks changed dramatically and my health improved.

When friends compliment me, I truly appreciate it. I am happy to tell them I have lost 175 pounds. However, there are some who insist I tell them what I weighed before. This is a sensitive issue and I do not wish to divulge this information. I’ve tried changing the subject, but these people won’t give up. Recently, a friend said, "Aren’t you glad you don’t look like a beached whale anymore?"

Although I am now at my goal weight, I still have the same insecurities as when I was morbidly obese. My previous weight is no one’s business. Why can’t they rejoice with me and leave it at that? — Thinner in Kansas

DEAR KANSAS: Because they think they are entitled to every piece of information about everybody. The best response is to ask, "Why do you need to know?" Repeat as often as needed.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.

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